Mountain Solidarity

2020 - ...

A part of the seminar "Questioning the multifaceted link between migration and poverty" of the International Development Studies Masters program at the Institute of Urban Planning and Alpine Geography, we will explore the general topic of how people in migratory situations are welcomed into communities, and in particular, the experience people seeking refuge in mountain regions.

© Christine Hoyon
Car la vie n'est pas un spectacle, 2017.

While the accommodation of asylum seekers is an obligation, and therefore a duty for states, we are now witnessing ever more restrictive state policies towards them. These policies, built on deterrence, are making migration trajectories increasingly precarious.

Faced with this reality, towns and local authorities are creating networks of refuge- towns; in these towns, often located in mountain areas, inhabitants are organising solidarity collectives. In the Grenoble region, refuge-towns have been created in the three mountain ranges surrounding the city. Other collectives were born in other mountain regions in France, notably the Briançonnais. Some collectives have been widely publicised in the media, such as those formed in the Roya Valley around the figure of the peasant activist Cédric Herrou (see the documentary film Libre by Michel Toesca, 2018).

Though they have not yet been studied extensively in France, these mountain refuge collectives nevertheless provide concrete responses to the lack of institutional accommodation and propose a new model of hospitality. The workshop proposes a study of the Collectif d'accueil des réfugiés en Matheysine (CARM).

The pedagogical workshop "Mountain Solidarity: Counter-narrative (ethnographic) of welcoming migrants in the Alps mountain in solidarity" invites students to reflect on the notions of welcome and hospitality applied to the mountains and carry out a critical analysis of the "mountain refuge" concept through the prism of social innovation and territorial resilience.

To answer the question: "Mountain Hospitality", myth or reality?

L’atelier pédagogique a donné lieu à la rédaction par les étudiants de la fiction Ça arrivera de toutes façons. A la recherche d’un refuge dans la vallée de Kalim, disponible en français et en anglais.

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